Blanche Dubois, a Southern belle from Laurel, Mississippi, arrives in New Orleans unexpectedly to visit her sister. The audience soon finds out that nothing in Blanche's life has seen to gone right as she has lost her family land, her husband, and her job. From the get go, it is made clear that Blanche is "incongrous to this setting" and looks as if she belongs "at a summer tea or cocktail party" in her "white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace, and earrings of pearl".
"Stella has embraced him with both arms, fiercely, and full in the view of Blanche. He laughs and clasps her head to him. Over her head he grins through the curtains at Blanche." (Scene 4)
In this scene, Blanche displays her concerns to Stella about her marriage to Stanley. Unknowingly, Stanley overhears the conversation and learns how Blanche truly sees him. Stanley pretends to reenter the apartment and goes and hugs his wife while smirking at Blanche. Stanley is exerting his dominance as a male over Stella, showing Blanche that he has complete control over her sister.
STELLA "Blanche, do you want him?" BLANCHE "I want to rest! I want to breathe quietly again! Yes – I want Mitch… very badly! Just think! If it happens! I can leave here and not be anyone’s problem" (Scene 5)
Within Stella and Blanche's conversation, the readers can infer that the sole reason Blanche is interested in Mitch is due to society's expectations for women. During the time period, it was the norm for a woman to be completely dependent on her husband. Blanche only wants to marry Mitch to fit in with society's standards of women being married.
In conclusion, Tennessee Williams use of Blanche's desperate, out of place character reveals the gender roles during the late 1940s. Women were expected to subordinate to their husbands. Women who were not married were outcasts by society and were looked as if something was wrong with them. Blanches journey of struggling with her sisters dysfunctional marriage and later deciding she wants a marriage of her own shows how society has a great influence on an individuals life.